After a bit of contemplation about the future direction of This Cruel War, I’ve decided a few things that might interest you. I said a few weeks ago that if things got too crazy, I’d have to scale back the articles to two a week rather than three. This has happened, though not quite in the way in which I had imagined.
The articles have grown in size. They used to be around 1,500 words, and are now anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000. It’s just not practical for me to maintain this level of verbiage. Similarly, I can’t really expect the readers to spend hours reading my blog. So I’ve come up with a plan that makes me really excited, though I have no idea whether or not I can pull it off.
First, the longer articles which appeared on Mondays and Wednesdays will now appear only on Wednesdays. The Voices of Slavery and Forgotten Heroes of Southern History pieces, which posted on Fridays will now post on Mondays. That leaves Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays open. These will be potentially filled with new content!
The 3,000 word articles take so long to finish not because I’m a slow typer (I’m not), but because the research takes the bulk of the time. Generally speaking, I spend twelve hours on each piece. Eight of those hours are spent on research, and another hour is spent on finding the accompanying photographs. Writing is not the problem. This means that I can do more writing if the research isn’t so intense. And now we come to the Tuesday/Thursday/(Friday) situation.
I’ve been wanting to focus upon a format that I sort of did when I worked on the Civil War Daily Gazette. There, I would take what happened 150 years ago, researched it, and wrote a 1,500ish word piece about it. Following that idea, I’m going to (hopefully) compose each week a brief overview of what happened this week throughout the history covered by This Cruel War. It won’t be incredibly detailed, neither will it be exhaustive. But it will be quick and interesting (with any luck). These will post on Tuesdays.
On Thursdays, I’d like to cover Civil War-related news. I don’t necessarily mean topics of battlefield preservation, but rather issues involving things like the Confederate flag, monuments, school text books, and the like. Like the week-in-history posts, this won’t be exhaustive, but it will force me to pay better attention to the news happening around the country involving the Civil War and race. Because of the timely nature of this, I’m not fully sure if I’ll be able to be consistent with this, but I’m going to try.
And what of Fridays? I’m not really sure. Fridays are our slowest days, even with some very interesting posts going up. I’m tempting to leave them black and give myself a three-day weekend. I just might do that. For now, anyway.
In other thoughts, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting an Instagram account for This Cruel War. I’ve actually already started it, but have not posted anything. I love old photography, which is why I spend so long selecting images. I’d love a place where I could post them and say a few more words about them. On the other hand, it could end up just being a place to start a pointless argument – something I really have no desire to do. I’m still up in the air about it, so we’ll see.
That’s about it. I’ll see you Monday with a piece about David Walker, a radical abolitionist from the 1820s.